Odour pollution problems within the district of the Wrekin council

  • C.A. Dawes

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


This thesis is concerned with various aspects of Air Pollution due to smell, the impact it has on communities exposed to it, the means by which it may be controlled and the manner in which a local authority may investigate the problems it causes. The approach is a practical one drawing on examples occurring within a Local Authority's experience and for that reason the research is anecdotal and is not a comprehensive treatise on the full range of options available. Odour Pollution is not yet a well organised discipline and might be considered esoteric as it is necessary to incorporate elements of science and the humanities. It has been necessary to range widely across a number of aspects of the subject so that discussion is often restricted but many references have been included to enable a reader to pursue a particular point in greater depth. In a `fuzzy' subject there is often a yawning gap separating theory and practice, thus case studies have been used to illustrate the interplay of various disciplines in resolution of a problem. The essence of any science is observation and measurement. Observation has been made of the spread of odour pollution through a community and also of relevant meterological data so that a mathematical model could be constructed and its predictions checked. It has been used to explore the results of some options for odour control. Measurements of odour perception and human behaviour seldom have the precision and accuracy of the physical sciences. However methods of social research enabled individual perception of odour pollution to be quantified and an insight gained into reaction of a community exposed to it. Odours have four attributes that can be measured and together provide a complete description of its perception. No objective techniques of measurement have yet been developed but in this thesis simple, structured procedures of subjective assessment have been improvised and their use enabled the functioning of the components of an odour control system to be assessed. Such data enabled the action of the system to be communicated using terms that are understood by a non specialist audience.
Date of Award1987
Original languageEnglish


  • odour pollution
  • Wrekin council

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